Councilman makes Bike Lane Announcement at Friday’s Susan Hicks Memorial Event
It’s been one year since the tragedy involving Susan Hicks on Forbes Avenue in Oakland. As you may have heard, we worked closely with her friends and family to put on a memorial event last Friday. In light of the anniversary, we wanted to update you on the event, as well as some exciting developments toward the goal of making Fifth and Forbes safer for people who walk and bike in Oakland.
State Representative Dan Frankel addressed the crowd at the memorial.
Susan’s Memorial Event
The memorial event began with a room dedication for Susan at the University of Pittsburgh Honors College. Afterwards, a group of friends, family, and supporters gathered on Forbes Avenue at Susan’s ghost bike for a press conference. There, we heard remarks from Susan’s father, Steve Hicks, as well as from State Representative Dan Frankel, Councilman Dan Gilman, and BikePGH Executive Director Scott Bricker.
Following the memorial, the City of Pittsburgh Police escorted dozens of bicyclists to the Brillobox in Bloomfield for an informal gathering and Russian Toast. In an emotional evening, toast-makers told stories celebrating her life and legacy.
Bike Lane Announcement Made
As you may recall, at the packed August 31 public meeting discussing planned bike lanes on Forbes Avenue through CMU’s campus, people were rightfully upset. PennDOT (who own and control Forbes Avenue) ended the proposed bike lanes at Craig Street, and did not continue the two blocks westward to connect to Bigelow Boulevard and Pitt’s campus, where the City of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh have already invested in bike lanes. As we all know, bike network connectivity is as important as the bike lanes themselves.
At the press conference, Councilman Gilman announced that he and Mayor worked with City Planning to develop designs. They have committed to adding bike lanes on Forbes Ave along the missing link between Bigelow Boulevard and Craig Street, along the very stretch where Susan lost her life.
Immediately following Susan’s death, we articulated the need for a safe place to ride on Forbes and it looks like we’re getting it. Although this is a small section, it’s big news, and would not have been possible without your advocacy calling for a Safe Fifth/Forbes Corridor. By showing up at public meetings, signing petitions, and writing letters, you have made a difference.
The Future of Oakland
Additionally, some other pieces seem to be falling into place. The Port Authority announced that they are set to move forward and settle on an alignment for their planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project between Oakland and Downtown. Once the Port Authority finalizes their decision, the City will be able to install the bike lanes that have been discussed as part of the project since the early days.
Until the paint is on the pavement, we are not done advocating.
- The Port Authority will be hosting several public meetings in early 2017 to gather feedback on their findings and alternatives for the realignment of Fifth and Forbes Avenues from Downtown to the heart of Oakland.
- If bike lanes are to be included in the project, it’s of utmost importance that you attend these meetings, the dates of which are still TBD.
- Please continue to pay close attention to our blog as the project progresses.
Your voice will be needed again. Thanks for your continued support.
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